It seems that visual storytelling is THE hot topic for 2013 and the hotel industry is catching on with many hoteliers making it a priority. Articles on visual storytelling seem to be flooding my inbox this week, one that particularly stood out to me was 6 Hotel Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2013 by Jitendra Jain (JJ) writer for hotelemarketer.com. Of the 6 predictions he shares in the article, the two that relate to most to visual storytelling really caught my interest.
Jain predicts that “More Hoteliers Will Discover the ’Secret’ Sauce that Powers Social Media Success.” Like Jain, I believe that this “secret sauce” isn’t such a secret. “The best way to connect with people is to find the ones who care about your product, engage them with meaningful stories and nurture a long term relationship with them.”
It has been known for thousands of years that stories are the best way to engage and connect with people. From pictograms on ancient caves to children’s storybooks to multi-million dollar feature films, people have been using visuals to tell stories and communicate their messages for ages. The only difference from the times of cave drawings are the mediums we use to share our stories today, like social media.
So how can hotels tell their stories on social media? Jitendra explains it best in his fourth prediction that “Catering to your audience’s rich media snacking tastes will be a rewarding exercise.” In order for you reap the rewards, you must create rich “snackable” media content because let’s face it, “We want content to be interesting, visual, shareable and most of all…quick and to-the-point.”
Create short interesting videos. Video can be produced at a high quality for low cost these days. New technology allows us to produce quality video cheaper than ever before and social media helps us get that video in front of people. Prior to social media, the only way to get your story out to the masses was through traditional media like television, radio, newspaper ads, or flyers (all very expensive and time consuming projects). Using video on social media is a cost effective and fast way to tell your hotel’s visual story to a broad audience.
Encourage guests to tell their stories of your hotel. By setting up a contest or providing incentives for guests who have stayed with you to post their photos and videos on social media, you can see what guests really care about and what adventures they had during their stays. But most importantly, you can use their visual stories and incorporate them into your own.
Generate small doses of content and share interesting photos. Jitendra also recommends that hoteliers share high-quality, interesting pictures that tell a quick, interesting story. People want to see an interesting story or picture and want to know how they can get involved in that story or have a similar experience themselves. By using social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, you are able to use photos to provide short interesting stories that excite your audience and entice them to want to experience your hotel themselves.
There are clear reasons why storytelling is a hot topic this year and a priority for many hoteliers. By using social media to tell your story, you can engage and connect with new prospects and existing customers. Hotels that start sharing their stories on social media will thrive this year.
To learn more about visual on social media, download the guide: The Hoteliers Ultimate Guide to Visual Storytelling on Social Media in 2013.